“The more I did, the more I could do, the more I wanted to do, the more I saw needed to be done.”
Leymah Gbowee, from Mighty Be Our Powers (2011)
Leymah Roberta Gbowee (February 1, 1972 – present) is a Liberian peace activist responsible for leading a women’s peace movement that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Leymah Gbowee was born in central Liberia. At the age of 17, she was living with her parents and two of her three sisters in Monrovia, when the First Liberian Civil War erupted in 1989, throwing the country into chaos until 1996. Her efforts to end the war, along with her collaborator Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, helped usher in a period of peace and enabled a free election in 2005 that Sirleaf won. She, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman, were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” She has won over a dozen peacekeeping and philanthropic awards, including the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2009, and is the founder and president of “Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa” based in Monrovia. Her memoir Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer and Sex Changed a Nation at War was nominated for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.